Tag Archives | Great Harbour

St. Charles, MO to St. Petersburg, FL (Sept. 25 to Nov. 11, 2014)

  Before we got back to Port Charles, we had noticed that the bow thruster sounded kind of sick and the batteries were showing low voltage.  Joe was concerned that the battery charger and the batteries for it had gone kaput.  The charger…

Heading South

 NO PHOTOS at this time.  A few days ago, this MacBook Pro leapt from the table, made some deep gashes in the floor, and rendered the lower 1/2 of its’ screen unusable.  While in Mobile, the plan is to find someone to make it whole again.  And then the box to click ‘add’ will magically re-appear!                         


St. Louis, going south, is
the gateway to the ‘goofy 200’.   We were
told at Hoppies’ Marina that the River had crested (wouldn’t be rising any
more) at 20 feet above normal.  We
decided to give it a day to slow down, and so stopped at the Kaskaskia River Lock,
and easy 35 or so miles from Hoppies.

We’ve never seen anyone
working at that lock wall before, but this time, Charlie was pumping water out
of the floating docks.  Twice a year, he
says, this is necessary due to condensation as well as rain collection and, of
course, leaks.  Charlie, bless him,
checked with Matt, who was in charge of the lock. Result?  We were invited to climb the ladder and visit
the Visitors’ Center.

‘Twas an interesting
adventure.  Made more fun by two
facts—one is that the lockmaster always says 
“Don’t climb the ladders” when we arrive at the lock wall.   The other is that we are slightly less than
spring chickens, and we wonder whether or not the invitation would have come,
had Matt known…

Kaskaskia is a narrow lock;
it only accommodates tows that are two barges wide.  Southern Illinois coal was its’ major
shipment out before federal regulation sharply diminished the use of high sulfur
content coal. Now, limestone goes into Southern Illinois via the Kaskaskia Lock,
and is used to remove the sulfur dioxide from the emissions at the local power
plant, where the local coal is burned. 
Business and industry are very complex.

Later, we were joined at the
lock wall by Brian and Terry aboard POSH. 
They quickly left us in their wake the next morning when we both set out
for the debris-filled scoot to Cairo.  
And a scoot it was.  High speed
(for us) and hand-steering (vs setting the autopilot and watching…) as the logs and trees were constant.  We reached the turn into the Ohio at Cairo at
5:05 pm, and 8 miles (at a sudden drop to 8 miles per hour) later were
peacefully anchored for the night.  We
averaged 10.5 mph for the 11 hours we were underway! 

Two days later we tied up
once again at Green Turtle Bay, and concern about the deluges of rain were a
thing of the past.  We’re now in waters
whose levels are managed by dams with locks for us to pass through.

Funny sights along the
Tennessee River—a Cyprus tree growing several feet from the shoreline (today,
at least—shorelines are quite movable!) whose knees make it appear to be
sitting on a table.   We marveled at the
difference in housing on the two sides of the river.  On our left (the Right Descending Bank—rivers
are so designated as they do not run cleanly from north to south.  But they are always flowing downstream, so we
are ‘upbound’ on the Tennessee, as it is hurrying toward us as fast as it can go,
so it can spill into the Ohio and then add to the fun on the Mississippi) is a
manicured, high maintenance, lovely home with boathouse.  On the opposite shore, a flood-protected
dwelling—also with outbuilding. 

We’ve caught up again with, and are
now cruising in tandem with CAROLYN ANN,  Joe and Punk Pica.  We paused at Aqua Harbor, a few miles from
the Shiloh battlefields of the Civil War, and then we entered the
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway for our seventh excursion to Mobile.

The morning was misty at
first, then downright foggy, but we were able to proceed with confidence as we
were motoring (with radar) up the 20+ mile long Divide Cut—the largest undertaking to date
by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The cut
is just that.  A chasm cut through the
land and dug to a water depth of at least 9’ to accommodate towboats.  A major project where only land had to be
moved, a huge undertaking to allow the trains to continue on their tracks…

This Waterway changes every
time, and the 12 locks (the “Not-so-dirty-dozen” according to Fred Myers’ guide
book) seem like a breeze after the 27 of the Mississippi!

We made the ‘usual’ stops at
Columbus—once again spoke with but didn’t see Jan and Dan Barnett, my Aberdeen,
SD classmate and her husband– and Demopolis, where the new Kingfisher Marina
is a welcoming place, with great floating docks and a large, clean
laundry-hang-out room!  

Marinas don’t happen much in
the 216 miles between Demopolis and Mobile. We found two great anchorages
before the  Mobile skyline appeared on
the horizon.  80 mile days!  Fast for us!    The Austal   company has the usual big, ugluy boat out in front, but close inspection
showed it to be number 6, not the number 4 we photographed a year ago.  Guess they are working!

So here we are at Turner
Marine in Mobile.  Will again leave YOUNG
AMERICA here for a few days while I have a reunion with Nursing buddies Maureen
and Freddie in Albuquerque.  Fred will go
to Newburgh to hang out with daughter Linda, recovering at home from a Knee

Until we talk again, be well,
and do continue to breathe!




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

Moline to Moline and beyond

We’re Baaaaaackkkkk.  Literally.  Left you as we left the Quad Cities, heading for the Twin Cities, and we now have been to Minneapolis/St. Paul and back.  The River is an 853 mile long dead end, and the only way out is the way we came in.
To recap, Bombfire Pizza in Sabula, IA was a  hoot.   Great pizza, and owner Tom picked us up at the Marina—-in his truck, not in his ’60’s VW bus.  After we’d eaten our pizza and enjoyed the piano players—hired and impromptu, Tom had disappeared, so another patron returned us to the Marina in Tom’s truck.  The keys were in it—“I sold it to him, guess I can  drive it!”, said he.  Small town America!
Both boats, CAROLYN ANN and YOUNG AMERICA were able to find dockage at marinas every night but one.  And that day we simply moved out of the channel and dropped our anchors into the stickiest mud we’ve seen in many moons.  Watched the tow boats pass at a respectable distance and felt safe and secure.  
As we approached St. Paul, our Looper pals Liz and Steve Kemper came out onto their waterfront to wave and take pictures.  Big lifesyle change going on with them!  Their house is rented, emptied, and the van is packed, ready for them to move south and  become full time live-aboards.  Their boat, SHINGABISS,  awaits them in Florida, and we were happy to arrive in St. Paul in time to spend a fun evening with them.
almost twins, steaming up the Upper!

We docked at Watergate Marina in St. Paul.  For Punk and Joe, it was a base for sightseeing.  For us, a place to leave the boat. We flew to NY  on Sept. 2.    This time we were happy to be able to support  daughter Ada as she prepared for and celebrated the grand opening of her dream—-Salon Lucere!  A couple of spots of rain did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm.  About 100 folks from in and around Chester, NY gathered under a tent for the official ribbon cutting, and then were  treated to ‘runway walks’ by 4 models from New York whose hair had been ‘done’ by Ada’s staff in the newest Fashion Week styles.  Food and drink were great, and tours showed off the fabulous job Ada has done of co-ordinating  the renovation of the building with rentals to two related services upstairs!  Congrats, Ada, we’re proud of you, and happy that our granddaughter, Devyn is a part of the staff!
www.salonlucere.com    Let your hair shine!
Next stop, Washington, DC for 5 days of US Power  Squadron National meeting, coupled with spending time with daughter Jen and Christopher, who live in Burke, VA.
Back to NY for Dr. visits (Fred’s melanoma site is clean and he got an 
A+ from MemSKCaCen in New York.) and back to the boat!

Had a fun afternoon at Target Stadium watching a Twins’ Game.  We totally missed the end of the Yankees season, and the retirement of the Captain.  Sigh.  Derek is definitely one of the good guys!
3 Nurses from the Swedish Hospital Sch. of Nsg. Way back when!
Jane and June, two of my nurses’ training buddies who live in the Twin Cities, came for lunch on Monday, and then we tossed the lines and motored over to the Bohemian Flats where we tied up on the Excursion dock and had dinner with Captain Dave.   We opted not to go thru the Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls Locks—we’ll rely on our run to the end of navigation last year for the memories.  
Federal legislation has mandated the closing of the Upper Falls Lock at the end of this season.  The rationale behind the closure is to stop the spread of our old ‘friends’ the Invasive Carp (no longer called ‘Asian’ as they were when we encountered them in the IL River on our 2009 Great Loop trip.) 
For an interesting (to me, at least) article about the situation, you can go to: http://www.minnpost.com/environment/2014/06/downtown-minneapolis-lock-closure-means-portages-whitewater-park-still-possible
Our longest stop on the way south was again in Moline.  My brother Gene’s daughter and son-in-law, Sandi and Lou, brought Gene and ‘Frank’s Pizza’ to the Marina on Saturday the 27th of Sept.  It was 90 degrees on the back deck, but on the bow of the boat we found shade and a lovely breeze, so we had our pizza party there. 
The next day, my sister Betty, her husband Gene and their dog, Daisy (recuperating from shoulder surgery) drove in from So. Dak.  It was the first time we three sibs could recall just hanging out together as adults—-with no excuse (such as wedding or funeral) for a get together.  We’ve always been a very close family, said she with tongue in cheek.
For sure Norwegians!

We took an extra day in Moline to have a doctor remove what my mom would have called a ‘hurt bump’ from my right elbow.   OK, not quite the same… if I didn’t behave, she would offer to “put hurt bumps on your head faster than you could rub them!”  But this bump did hurt, and I’m glad it is gone!
“Keep ‘er coming Cap—we’ll have it ready for you!”  23 out of 27 times these were the wonderful words we heard from lock masters as we called to say we were approaching a lock as we moseyed down the River.  A pretty amazing record!  

There has been a LOT of rain in the past few weeks, and the extra water ends up in the river. So locking was also speeded by the fact that the water is again so high (crested at 20 feet above normal here at St. Louis today) that the lock drop might be 2 feet instead of 10, or 5 instead of 28. As the river level rises the debris on the shores gets picked up, and pushed downstream.  Weaving through logs, manny the size of telephone poles, as well as assorted branches and trunks is challenging and tiring. We;re told that the water level will drop 2-3 feet per day for the next 5 or 6 days, and the flotsam will return to the banks.  
But the current is great!  We were going  12+ mph today!  Whiplash!
The Mississippi is like no other river we’ve cruised.   It definitely has a personality all its’ own, and we have  thoroughly enjoyed making it’s acquaintance.  Twice.
Tomorrow we’ll race through the minefield as we get pushed down the ‘goofy 200’ at high speed.
Onward and upward……….we’ll be back soon.  Do remember to breathe!

St. Charles, MO to Mississippi River end of Navigation and back (Aug 15 to Sep 25)

It was finally time to leave Port Charles Harbor, so Young America and Carolyn Ann headed out.  The high water, carrying lots of debris, that we saw when we arrived had passed on by.  As a matter of fact, we were concerned that the water mi…

St. Louis to the Quad Cities

As I mentioned when last we met, the traffic below St. Louis was a zoo, but once into the City, we slid easily into the Material Sales Corp.’s H shaped barge array, and Jimmy helped us  both tie up on the barge named Robert E. Lee.   We were too pooped to accept his offer of the car for sightseeing, but really enjoyed the stop!
SEA DREAM’s bow and  YOUNG AMERICA at MSC, St. Louis
Locks and dams can be the bane of our existence.  The main chamber of the Melvin Price Lock (#26 of the 27 locks between St. Louis and MSP) was closed for repairs, so only the smaller, auxiliary chamber was open.  That means that tows that can’t fit have to lock in stages—-take apart, lock up or down and reattach.  That can  mean long waits for pleasure craft like us, as the paying customers definitely take priority.  In the case of Mel Price, the wait was 4 hours.  Sigh.  Once through, we parted company with SEA DREAM.  Mike and Linda went on to Grafton, IL to enjoy the pool and spa there, and we crossed the river to Alton, IL where I caught a cab to the St. Louis airport.
From August 5-8, I was in Burke, VA with  daughter Jen and grandchildren Matthew, Casey and Rebecca while Christopher did a US Forest Service gig (his job,that is) in Ketchikan, Alaska. 
Walking around the lake with Casey, Becca and Ruby.

While I was away, Fred moved YOUNG AMERICA to the Port Charles Harbor Marina, and there she remained until August 15.

So long, SEA DREAM!
They say boaters plans are written in the sand—-very near the shore— and often get washed  away.  So it was to be for this trip.  Joe and Punk, who’d visited their daughter on the West Coast after coming around the Great Lakes to Pt. Chas. Harbor, returned to CAROLYN ANN on Thursday;  SEA DREAM returned from an hour north of the marina on Thursday, and I returned from Burke on Friday, August 8.  The three of us had planned to be in MSP by Aug. 21 but Mike and Linda decided to return to GreenTurtle Bay instead, and do day trips with friends there this summer.  So we bade SEA DREAM adieu and spent the next week acting like retired folks without a care in the world.  Well, why not?  We are, after all, just that!   (The real truth is that CAROLYN ANN was having work done, and Fred and I waited around until it was completed).
Two N-37’s in the Muscatine, IA harbor.
USPS Port Captains Ed and RoseMary Bielike came for a visit and   Joanne and Doug, Great Loop Harbor Hosts for the area, set up a dinner for 10 at a nearby restaurant, so we were far from lonely. 
We finally sallied forth, and have been doing 50+ mile hops—-to Two Rivers Marina near Louisiana, MO, the Quincy Boat Club in Quincy, IL, Keokuk and Muscatine, IA and a lovely anchorage on the side of the River when the next marina was too far away and too silted in anyhow.  The River is LOW,  Go figure, after we had to wait and wait for it to settle down.
Just above Keokuk, we attempted to assist a Personal Watercraft (Jet Ski) that was powerless in the water.  The JetSki had no steering and no place to tie a tow rope. When it tipped over, the operator, Kristin,  swam it toward shore, where she found, much to her dismay, that the powerlessness was caused by failure to engage the fuel.  Once the switch was turned on, she returned to us to collect her passenger and they headed home.    It is never dull.
Finally reached the Quad Cities of IL and IA—Moline and Rock Island IL; Davenport and Bettendorf IA. 
Rock crushes scissors….Joe got the 50 amp. plug–we had to use two 30 amp cords.

Had a late lunch with my big brother Gene,  always a treat!

Jet pilot and Submarinerr.  A very special pair!

He lives about 20 min. away, in Geneseo, IL.

An amazing squall blew through on Friday morning.  Winds went from 0-40 in a heartbeat, and my, how the rains came down!  And then it was gone.  Sun came out and Punk and I began to walk to the grocery—-2.3 mi. according to the iPad.  Happily, we got a call that Gene, bless him, had returned (by car, of course) and was on the way to our rescue with Joe in the co-pilot’s seat.  A quick grocery shop and a pleasant evening followed.
More rain this morning, and bless him, Mike the harbormaster rescued our forwarded mail from the postal person who’d been unsuccessful in his attempt to leave the package at the Marina’s Restaurant.  Hmmmm.  
By 11 the skies were clear,  and we were underway.  As we arrived at Lock #14, we were told to use the Auxiliary chamber.  New experience.  Coming out of the lock, we sidled past a serious storehouse of Corps of Engineers equipment, and then re-entered the main channel by way of a narrow cut between the wing dams.  Veddy interesting, and tricky!  
CAROLYN ANN is through the  wingdam gap.  Our turn. Note the wind blowing the yellow flag.

The alternative was a long wait at the main chamber as a backup of towboats come downriver after being held up by dredging of a shallow. impassable (for them) spot several miles north.  We were happy with the Auxiliary Chamber and all of its’ extras!

Today’s destination is expected to be Sabula Iowa, (home of the Bombfire Pizza) and thence to the Twin Cities, one day at a time!

Hope your days are extraordinary and that you remember to breathe!

Peoria, IL to St. Charles, MO (July 12 to August 14)

The IVY Club was a great stop for us.  We got a car from Enterprise and drove to Abingdon, IL where Joe’s aunt Kay is currently living in a nursing home – after several broken bones and two hip replacements.  She corrected Joe on her age …

Old Lock #1 to the Mighty Mississippi

Hi again,  
Our run from Old Lock #1 to our rendezvous with SEA DREAM in Aqua Harbor  was uneventful, save for one small violation of Fred’s rule #3. **  In case you’ve forgotten, or didn’t know them, here are:
        Fred’s  ‘Rules for a good day of boating’      
                   #1  Nobody gets hurt.
                   #2  Don’t hit other boats.
                   #3  Always reach a safe harbor before dark.  **
                   #4  No matter what happens, DON’T yell at the crew!
                            (#4 is, of course, my personal favorite!)
We hit a lock delay—inevitable in river cruising, and were mildly frustrated by the lockmaster, who had a penchant for chatting.   We wanted to just get moving, as the sun was down and twilight fading fast.  Fade it did, and we had 5 dark miles to go to our anchorage.   Attempted to slide into an inlet at 3 miles and ran hard aground.  Water went from 15’ to 0 in a heartbeat!  Fred was able to back us off (a week later the boat  was hauled to tighten the propeller nuts that probably got jarred loose) and we gingerly, but safely, entered and anchored in Sumter Landing. We hate when that happens, and it’s a case of ‘the best laid plans’……..(Actually, we’ve been there before, and the light is always on at the Lodge, so it wasn’t a really big deal, but it was a  ‘happen’…)
Mike and Linda met us at Aqua Harbor, and we spent a couple of days there before heading north.

 I wasn’t much company, as I spent most of the days tucked away in a conference room working on the exam for a celestial navigation course.  (Completed it and sent it off for grading on July 29th.)

Green Turtle Bay Marina in Grand Rivers, KY again gets kudos!  This was our launching spot for the run up the MS.  There was plenty to do  during the week we spent there—the marina has a spa and yacht club dining room, and of course we had to shop, provision, and get the boat and the crew is shape for traveling, bur mostly we were waiting for the River to drop and slow! 

Getting ready to travel meant getting Fred’s back squared away.  We found the Orthopedic Specialists of Western Kentucky in Paducah, and can’t say enough good things about them.  The first floor of their huge building is devoted to Urgent Care (Ortho only, please) and Physical Therapy.  Looks like about an acre of machines, with a steady flow of folks moving through their paces under the watchful eyes of lots of Therapists. 

 Fred was seen (as soon as he completed theinevitable  ream of paper work) by, among others, Ben, a very pleasant and competent Orthopedic Physician’s Assistant.  In the blink of an eye, X-Rays of Fred’s thoracic spine were read, and within an hour we were at a local hospital for an MRI.  Ben phoned us (we weren’t even back to the Marina yet—can you believe it?)  to say that there is a fracture in T-10!  Fred’s been walking around—slowly and with great pain—with a fractured vertabra!  Put more simply, he has a broken back. A brace was ordered over the weekend, and on Monday morning we were back to  pick it up.  

What a difference it has made!  Within a day there was a noticeable improvement in the level of pain, and by Friday he could lie down and get up again without so much as a wince!  Add in the PT exercises he was given and you have one super therapeutic operation!  The cause of the fracture is said to be compression from Fred’s developing a ‘kyphotic’ (think question mark shaped back) curve–probably from the gazillion hours he spends hunched over his computer or the wheel of the boat.  Make that he used to hunch.  Now he leans in from the hip.  We will continue to follow up to be assured that all is well.

Rave reviews for Ortho Specialists.  Another of the worker-bees, Tripp, kindly printed out directions to the hospital, and thence to the Pharmacy, and as a bonus gave us a flier inviting us to the Fall Celebration in late September in Paducah!

So we are good to go!

The Mississippi flooding has continued well past spring this year, and the River is barely back in its banks in many places.  River levels came down a foot a day (confirmed by Joe and Punk aboard CAROLYN ANN just above St. Louis) and by Thursday, July 31 we were as ready as we were likely to get, and tossed the lines.     Had an oops as we were underway—-I left my iPad in the Courtesy car the marina provides (and a fine Dodge van it is!!!)

Harbormaster Bill and his faithful pup “Pistol”

Bless his heart, HarborMaster Bill drove the iPad to Paducah (1/2 hour by car) and bless HIS heart, Mike took me for a dinghy ride to the boat ramp to retrieve it!  Good people going above and beyond!

A brief reminder about the Upper Mississippi.  Green Turtle Bay is on  The Cumberland  River, and we cruised down to the Ohio, and thence to where the Tennessee River empties into the Ohio, where we anchored to meet Bill in Paducah. Next morning we headed down the O-HI-O, through Lock #52 and over Lock #53.    Last year’s blog talks about these outdated locks and the expensive, stalled construction of the ‘new improved’ Olmstead lock on the Ohio.  Nothing much has changed…
We are told that cement blocks are going in to form the dam.

At Cairo, IL the Mississippi divides into the ‘Upper’—-875 miles north to Minneapolis—and the ‘Lower’—-950 miles south to New Orleans.  We very carefully turned to the right to enter the 200 miles of open water (no locks or dams) that stretches to St. Louis.  

Most people going to Minneapolis by boat enter the River above St. Louis, from the Illinois River.  CAROLYN ANN is there, having come from the Carolinas and through the Great Lakes to the Illinois River.   We didn’t have that option unless we went all the way around Florida and up the East Coast, so it’s back to the ‘Goofy 200’, as we have fondly named it.
We made the turn carefully as the current in the Ohio was pushing us to 10.5 miles an hour!  90 degrees to the right later, we’d slowed to 3.8 miles an hour and that has been the story of this trip.
On Friday, the 1st of August, we travelled from 6 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., anchored at mile 29.2 (almost 30 River miles from Cairo—-probably 8 miles due west of Cairo).  The River doubles back on itself (oxbows) and did its very best to keep us from making headway.   
Little green frog attempted to stowaway.  He went swimming instead.

Saturday we again were off by 6 a.m.  Around 3 in the afternoon we started looking at possible anchorages suggested by the guide books and Active Captain.  Too much current here, too little room to swing there, and it took until 6:10 to find a spot where Mike and Linda could safely put down their anchor (mile 77.5—the Cottonwood Bar), and we rafted to their port side.  We were out of the channel where the big guys—-towboats pushing anywhere from 6-36 barges—-travel and all was well.
The looooooong lock wall at theKaskaskia River.

The next day, we actually got up to 6.5 mph for 2.5 minutes!  Averaged 4 miles/hour from 6 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.,  when we tied up to the newly re-done long lock wall on the Kaskaskia River, Mile 117.5.  Fred and I have been there 3 times before, and it has been different each time we stop. When the sun gets lower and it cools a bit (87 degrees out there now) we can go for a walk before we sleep. 

Monday morning the fog rolled in, and it was 8 a.m. before we left the Lock wall.  The current is slowing a bit, and we’re actually averaging  about 5+ miles per hour.  If I seem to go on and on about the boat speed, it is because, well, 4 miles an hour is really, really slow! 
The ‘goofy 200’ is just goofy, that is all there is to be said.  As we near St. Louis the industry picks up—both sides of the River have quarries, staging areas for the many barges that we see hauling ‘stuff’, shipyards, scrap yards, construction companies, power plants etc.etc.etc.  Fred has his binoculars at the ready and is loving watching the machines!  And it is good to see the output of product in America, vs the output of intangibles in our service economy.  
Enough.  On to the post, the photos, and the rest of the day.  Hope yours has been delightful. 

Be well, and do remember to breathe!

Two months at Turner July 14, 2014

Truth in blogging message:  This was written way back when and oops never posted.  How could that happen?  No internet?  Photos wouldn’t download?  Who knows….Here ’tis, and on the the MS adventure!

Greetings on a sunny (at last) summer day!  Fred and  I have tossed the lines after a 2 month stay at Turner Marine on the Dog River in Mobile, Alabama.
Sunset at Turner Marine

First, a good word for the Marina!  Fred returned to the boat pretty frazzled after a 3 flight, broken airplane, 2 hour delay, rental car at 9 pm and only Airplane—-no, make that Airport food (no food on planes anymore, is there?) sort of day.  Next morning, as he finished soaking the kinks away in a hot shower, a yard worker came to check on the boat. The worker, unaware  that Fred had returned, noticed water coming out the side and came to check on the bilge pumps!  Happily, the water was coming from the shower and all was well.  That is the sort of attention you want your boat to have when you are away!  Sing HO for Turner’s!

While away from the boat, we did all the things we’e planned—Bronson (fun Submarine reunion), Baltimore (GHTA meeting–the annual get together of the folks who own, used to own, or wish they owned boats built by Mirage Manufacturing—Great Harbor Trawlers, like ours), USPS on the water training, and a whole bunch of family events! 
The GHTA turnout was good—about 40 friendly folks.   In the afternoon, Fred and I did our ‘Up the Upper’ dog and pony show, and Joe followed it by taking us all ‘Down the Lower’—-Mississippi River, that is.  Technology allowed Andy Allen to attend while remaining in Florida, so we are all updated on the GHTA Webpage.  Check it out—-ghtacruising.com More than you’d ever want to know about Great Harbour boats.
We added a day in Baltimore to spend time with the French Family.  Chris, (daughter) Jen, Casey and Rebecca drove in from their home in Burke, VA for the day.  Went to the Aquarium, and then did a Submarine tour with Fred providing the ‘inside scoop’. What a good time was had by all! 
With the French family on the submarine TORSK in Baltimore

On the way to New York, we paused once more in Baltimore for breakfast with my good friend and  ‘exercise buddy’ in Newburgh, many, many moons ago.  Lynn and her husband Jeff introduced us to one of the (self proclaimed) Best Breakfast Restaurants in the USA!
Our first stop in Newburgh was actually in Chester, NY where daughter Ada was putting the finishing touches on Salon Lucere, the fulfillment of her entrepreneurial dream!  She was the general contractor for the entire project (remodeling a 2 story brick building inside and out) and has a book full of stories of the trials and tribulations that go along with such a venture!  

Salon Lucere (before officially open, but doing lots of business) was voted into the Top 5 in the Hudson Valley  when the Times-Herald Record asked readers to choose their favorites!  Talk about loyal clientele!  And Ada and her crew (including granddaughter Devyn) are stellar!  They deserve all the good that is out there! 
Joe and Punk came up the Hudson, (en route to St. Louis, the long way!) and docked CAROLYN ANN at the Newburgh Waterfront.  Had lunch at our old stand-by, the River Grill, where Fred and I had our first date, and our wedding.
While in New York, we spent two Saturdays with the Westchester Power Squadron participating in Practical On the Water Training classes.  20 students went out on the Hudson River and Long Island Sound and honed their skills; learning from Fred and the other instructors.  On the water is THE way to learn boat handling, and post event email from students attested to the value they received.  Great job, John Steger and others for putting it all together!
Fred couldn’t stand having the boat in a Gulf Coastal County during the hurricane season (although our new insurance policy says they would pay—after doubling the deductible for Named Storm Damage) so he left on a jet plane while I remained to celebrate High School Graduations and spring concerts at a variety of schools! 
Having 11 grandchildren can present logistical challenges, but band, orchestra, and dance recitals on both sides of the Hudson were fun for me to attend!   I even got to sit in  with proud mom, daughter Molly, at graduation ceremonies for JT in Newburgh and the next day, with son Alan, Holly and daughter Linda Lee (the proud Aunt)  for Paul in Arlington!    On Sunday the parties were great, celebrating both boys’ accomplishment, as well as Laurel’s confirmation (which, sadly, we missed).  
Happy Graduation, JT
Laurel is confirmed, Paul graduated, and Hazel is smiling!

I flew to Mobile on Tuesday, we did all the important pre-trip stuff, and finally we are boaters again!  Headed north out of Mobile, and up the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to, well, maybe eventually  to Minneapolis!  
This morning, a bass boat with shad fishermen Shawn and Johnathon came into the basin at Old Lock #1 where we were anchored.  Bless their hearts, they happily posed for us so we could have a comparison photo of the Old Lock!  When we came through in 2009, (trip #1 as we did the Great Loop), the water was 16 feet higher!  Our four  Looper boats tied up to that wall—-waaaay up there—-and celebrated our return to sea level.  This year we anchored in 7.2 feet of water.   Who knew that there would be such fluctuations in the River Levels.
We’ve learned a lot, and had a whole lot of fun—-which continues, as we prepare to meet up with SEA DREAM and CAROLYN ANN and, if the river cooperates, do some Mississippi River Cruising before the summer flits away. 
How lucky can you get???
See you next time….be well, and do remember to breathe!

Tonawanda, NY to Peoria, IL (June 18 to July 11, 2014)

We had arrived in Tonawanda before noon and scheduled a one day Enterprise rental.  We had hoped to do some laundry (only $1/load for each machine) and pump-out.  When we arrived, no dock attendant was there and everything was locked up – and…

Solomons, MD to Tonawanda, NY (April 29 to June 17)

Our next stop was Bruce and Joan’s dock on Gingerville Creek in Annapolis.  It was sad to see the empty dock as we arrived, but at least we knew that Forever 39 had gone to a good home; having become Janet and Jerry’s boat At Last.  It’s alwa…